Improving trauma pain outcomes
Improving acute pain management after traumatic injury remains a priority for policymakers and clinicians as rates of injury and subsequent pain-related disability rise nationally. Yet, innovations in trauma pain management remain understudied.
A 7-year prospective cohort study from the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (CMCVAMC), University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania examined the relationship between regional anesthesia (RA) administration and patient-reported pain-related outcomes among Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom service members sustaining a combat-related extremity injury. The study, done in collaboration with the Department of Defense—Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management (DVCIPM), found that when integrated into combat casualty care, early use of RA is associated with sustained pain benefits throughout rehabilitation and recovery.
"The improvements in average pain and pain relief in the first six months after injury observed in our study indicate a strong association between receiving early RA after combat injury in the austere battlefield environment and improved long-term pain outcomes," said Penn Nursing's Rosemary Polomano, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Associate Dean for Practice, Professor of Pain Practice Penn Nursing, and co-investigator of the study. "These results suggest that effective, agile pain interventions initiated close to the time of injury can play an important role in reducing future pain."